Michel Mayor, Swiss astrophysicist

Michel Mayor, Swiss astrophysicist

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Credit: DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Michel Mayor (born 1942). Portrait of the Swiss astrophysicist and professor Michel Mayor. In 1995, along with Didier Queloz, Mayor was the first to discover an extrasolar planet, 51 Pegasi B. This planet orbits 51 Pegasi, a Sun-like star some 42 light years from Earth. 51 Pegasi B is about half Jupiter's size, and orbits only 7 million kilometres from the star, equivalent to 1/6th of Mercury's orbit around the Sun. It is likely that this extremely hot planet is pulled into an oval shape by huge gravitational tidal forces. Photographed in 1997.

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